In Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic Med-QUEST to Issue New Request for Proposal for Managed Care Organizations
News Release from Hawaii DHS, May 29, 2020
Honolulu, HI — The State of Hawai’i Department of Human Services announced today that in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Med-QUEST is rescinding the contract awards made to managed care organizations in January, canceling the request for proposal (RFP) released August 2019, and will be issuing a new RFP this fall to address the evolving needs of the community amid this public health crisis.
“The needs of our community have dramatically changed just within the past few months,” said Judy Mohr Peterson, administrator of the Department of Human Service’s Med-QUEST Division. “The impact of the coronavirus caused us to take a new look at how to address the emerging needs of our growing Medicaid population and modify the requirements of the RFP to reflect this new reality we are all facing. We are grateful to the health plans who submitted proposals in 2019 and look forward to receiving new proposals that respond to this new environment.”
Since March 4, 2020, Med-QUEST enrolled over 24,000 additional beneficiaries, an increase of over 7.5 percent in total enrollment in less than three full months. The number of new applicants is expected to climb even higher as Hawaii responds to one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation. The resulting Medicaid enrollment numbers are likely to remain high until Hawai’i’s economic recovery begins and there is a return to pre-pandemic employment levels.
Based on the RFP issued back in August 2019, Med-QUEST announced in late January that it had awarded contracts to four health plans: Hawaii Medical Services Association and UnitedHealthcare Community Plan to serve Medicaid beneficiaries on all the islands, and to AlohaCare and ‘Ohana Health Plan to serve Medicaid beneficiaries on O‘ahu.
Those contracts were scheduled to go into effect on July 1, 2020. However, Med-QUEST previously announced postponement of the effective contract date to devote internal resources to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and to avoid placing any added stress and confusion on the part of beneficiaries during a challenging time.
“We determined we needed to go one step further and review the RFP requirements in light of the critical needs of the community,” said Mohr Peterson.
Existing contracts with all health plans shall be extended until the new contract awards are made. The new RFP, which will be issued this fall will be designed to meet the changing and pressing needs of the community and will be issued publicly.
“Innovative approaches will be key to strengthening our resiliency as a state and serving our communities’ health needs, especially in the new landscape that has resulted from this global pandemic,” Mohr Peterson said. “Now, more than ever, we must think creatively and collaboratively to transform our health care delivery system so that we are able to provide quality care and improved outcomes for the benefit of Hawai’i nei.”
Our mission is to empower Hawai'i’s residents to improve and sustain wellbeing by developing, promoting and administering innovative and high-quality healthcare programs with aloha. The State of Hawai‘i Med-QUEST Division provides eligible low-income adults and children access to health and medical coverage through managed care plans. The QUEST program is designed to provide Quality care, Universal access, Efficient utilization, Stabilizing costs, and to Transform the way health care is provided to recipients.
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